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Visa 'not' on Arrival when traveling to Vietnam

Planning on a last minute trip to Vietnam? You might want to delay it for a couple days, while you prepare your Visa on Arrival (VOA). While in most countries, Westerners can purchase tourist visas upon arrival at airports, South East Asia requires a little more preparation. With Vietnam being a communist country, it tends to be a little stricter when it comes to tourism. Don't let the term "on arrival" trick you. You will need a couple days to prepare your tourist visa.

Things to bring with you to airport:

1. Letter of Approval --- (Approx. 2 days to receive via email)

• There are many websites to get one, take your pick!

• Ensure your name on your visa matches EXACTLY how your name is written on your passport. This includes any middle names you may have.

• Print it off, otherwise you'll be like Chasen, and accidentally leave your Go Pro behind while franticly trying to find a place to print off his letter of approval so we wouldn't miss our flight.

2. Passport photo --- 4 cm x 6 cm photo for Vietnam. We took ours on a military installation in South Korea, and the guy gave us a few different sizes for each of the countries we were going to.

3. Passport --- When traveling, always make sure your passport will have at least 6 months before it expires upon entry and at least one empty visa page. Almost all countries, including Vietnam, go by this rule.

4. Cash --- Always a good idea to bring cash, where Cambodia mostly used dollars, Vietnam used dongs.

Note: There are multiple types of visas ranging anywhere from USD $17 for a 1 month single entry visa to a USD $65 for a 3 month multiple entry visa. If you think you might go in and out of Vietnam, the 1 month multiple entry visa is only a few dollars more, don't risk it.

I didn't put my middle name on my Letter of Approval and Chasen didn't print his off.

I tried not to panic thinking we would miss our flight to Vietnam. With the glass being half full, we would have had to spend another night in Cambodia, oh no... Luckily they gave me a waiver and told me I would probably have to bribe immigration upon arrival. I didn't end up showing them the waiver, and they didn't care that my middle name wasn't on it. Chasen ended up finding a place to print off his letter of approval, with the cost of leaving his Go Pro at a counter.

While traveling to Vietnam requires a little more research and planning, we enjoyed every minute of it!

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